Scientists continue to unravel the connection between cognitive function and vitamin K. In a recent rat study from Antioxidants, vitamin K2 was shown to offer some protection against age-related cognitive impairments related to Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Mature rats were given menaquinone-7 (MK-7), a form of vitamin K2, for 17 weeks and then compared to a placebo group. As part of the study, the rats were put through a battery of tests, including a maze, swim test, and a sociability test to determine cognitive function, as well as any depression- or anxiety-type behaviors. Rats in the MK-7 group outperformed the control group. Vitamin K2 supplements were associated with:
- Less evidence of cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety
- Enhanced spatial memory and learning ability
Interesting to Note
One of the most interesting aspects of this research involves vitamin K’s effect on specific biological pathways, including the proteins NLRP3, caspase-1, and Nrf-2. All three pathways play a role in inflammation and antioxidant activity. The expression of tyrosine, an amino acid that supports cognitive function, also appears to improve with vitamin K2 supplementation.
“Recently, Vit. K2 status has been strongly correlated with brain health. Various in vitro and in vivo studies have highlighted the role of Vit. K in brain cell development and survival. In this regard, a direct correlation between low Vit. K dietary intake, or its serum concentration, and deteriorated cognitive and behavioral performances has been reported in a population 65 years and older. Moreover, research findings confirmed Vit. K2 to protect neural cells against anti-beta amyloid antibodies toxicity.”
Vit. K2 demonstrated very promising impacts in hindering aging-related behavioral, functional, biochemical, and histopathological changes in aged rats. This was underlined by a modulatory impact on NLRP3/caspase-1/Nrf-2 signaling with preservation of frontal cortex and hippocampal tyrosine hydroxylase content — a major contributor to the preservation of cognitive functions. Vit. K2 is proposed as a promising approach to attenuate age-related disorders and to preserve cognitive functions in aging individuals.